In this week's Parsha, the Torah records, as part of "Az Yashir," the song sung by Bnai Yisrael after Kerias Yam Suf, the famous phrase "זה קלי ואנוהו," "this is my G-d and I will glorify Him" (שמות ט"ו:ב'). What exactly is the intent of this Posuk? How do we fulfill these words? How can we "glorify" Hashem?
The Gemara in Shabbos (דף קל"ג:) presents two different approaches. According to the first opinion, this Posuk means that we should glorify Hashem by doing the Mitzvos in a beautiful way. For example, we should have a beautiful Sukkah, a beautiful Lulav, a beautiful Shofar, a beautiful pair of Tzitzis and a beautiful Sefer Torah. This is the concept of "Hiddur Mitzvah," the idea of doing a Mitzvah in a beautiful fashion instead of just going through the motions and doing the bare minimum, even though that would technically be enough to fulfill the basic obligation. According to the second opinion, though, the Posuk means to teach something different, namely, that we should glorify Hashem by emulating His מדות, His character traits. Just as He is merciful, for example, so should we be merciful. Just as He is kind, so should we be kind, and so on.
Looking at the first interpretation, though, we are confronted with a question. The particular Mitzvah being discussed in that Gemara (שם) is the Mitzvah of Bris Milah; the Gemara tries to assert that this idea of "ואנוהו," requiring us to glorify Him, indeed applies to the Mitzvah of Bris Milah. Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his Sefer דרש משה, asks how the concept of נוי, beauty, can apply to the Mitzvah of Bris Milah. In what way is beauty relevant to the Mitzvah of Milah? Two different explanations are suggested there. First, he states that the נוי can apply to the way we perform the Mitzvah in general, if not to the physical act of the Mitzvah; we fulfill this by expressing שמחה גדולה, great happiness and zeal, in connection with Bris Milah. We thus beautify the Mitzvah by means of our attitude and our feelings while performing it. Second, he suggests that the Mitzvah of Milah represents the כריתת ברית, the establishment of a covenant, that this little boy will be "given" to Hashem, and to a lifetime of Torah and Mitzvos. The hope is that this child will fulfill the words of the Torah for the rest of his life and that idea, represented here by the Mitzvah of Bris Milah, is the greatest beautification possible in connection with this great Mitzvah.
Based on this interpretation, we must realize our obligation as parents and teachers to instill in our children and students this ברית, this covenant, which we have with Hashem in terms of following the precepts of His Torah. This is the best way to "glorify" Hashem. We must also remember the Posuk in Tehillim (ק':ב') which says "עבדו את ה' בשמחה," "serve Hashem with happiness." This means that we should not view the Mitzvos as a chore or a burden, but rather as a source of joy so that we can assure that the next generation will continue in our ways and bring joy to Hashem. If we can accomplish these goals, we will truly have fulfilled the intent of this Posuk which says "זה קלי ואנוהו," because through our actions, we will have shown that Hashem is our G-d, whom we shall glorify however we can.